COVID-19 Update: Since the medical alert industry is considered to be “essential” during the COVID crisis, monitoring and customer service centers are still open and ready to help. To learn more about how a medical alert device can help keep you or your elderly loved one safe and connected during this pandemic, take a look at our list of essential products for seniors during COVID-19.

As adults age, they become more prone to developing serious injuries from falls. A senior visits the emergency room every 11 seconds for a fall-related injury, and every 19 seconds, an elderly adult develops fatal injuries from one. Older adults also have increased odds of experiencing a stroke, heart attack or dementia-related difficulties, so it’s important to monitor their actions and behaviors.

Unfortunately, family members can’t always keep an eye on their loved ones day and night, especially if they choose to age in place rather than in an assisted living community. Medical alert system bracelets ease the worries of caregivers as well as seniors by monitoring movements around the clock. Many medical alert systems have automatic fall detection, and you can also find bracelets with activity monitoring, medication reminders and GPS tracking.

Benefits of Medical Alert System Bracelets

Mobile seniors may prefer medical alert bracelets with pinpoint location tracking because it offers more coverage than standard GPS tracking or cell service tracking. Pinpoint location combines GPS and cell service tracking with Wi-Fi hotspots, making it easy to know the exact location of your loved one at all times. If an injury or health-related emergency arises, medical professionals can quickly locate the bracelet’s wearer and administer prompt care. This is crucial for life-threatening falls and conditions such as strokes, as it’s vital that seniors receive stroke care within 3 hours if they want to reduce the severity of long-term symptoms.

Medical alert system bracelets can’t prevent injuries, but they can help reduce issues that stem from delayed care. They also help seniors feel more independent by giving them the confidence to explore their surroundings. However, choosing the right medical alert bracelet can be complicated since there are so many brands and features to explore. We’ve compiled a list of the best medical alert systems for mobile seniors, from golden-agers who enjoy neighborhood strolls to elderly adults prone to dementia-related wandering.

The 3 Best Medical Alert Systems with Location Tracking

Medical Guardian

Medical Guardian offers devices and services for every budget and lifestyle, from simple in-home systems to feature-packed smartwatches with an unlimited range. Pinpoint location tracking, which combines cellular data with Wi-Fi hotspots to monitor seniors, is an option on two of the company’s subscription plans. Medical Guardian uses AT&T’s network to connect to a third-party monitoring center. When available, a bracelet wearer can also use their own cell phone provider for monitoring.

Seniors seeking pinpoint location tracking can choose from the Active Guardian or Freedom Guardian. The Freedom Guardian has the lowest monthly price, but it doesn’t offer fall protection. The Active Guardian offers fall protection for a monthly fee.

The Mobile Guardian also offers GPS tracking for bracelet wearers, but it doesn’t utilize Wi-Fi hotspots. It also has no fall protection monitoring, but it’s waterproof and has a battery that lasts up to 24 hours. The Freedom Guardian’s battery lasts for approximately 2 days, and the Active Guardian provides up to 5 days of use without needing a battery recharge.

Seniors can add additional services to their GPS bracelets, including a lockbox, a mounted wall button and a voice-activated wall button. There are also family and caregiver portals that let loved ones conveniently monitor issues and actions.

Life Alert

Life Alert saves a life every 11 minutes, and they’ve been in the personal protection industry for more than 30 years. It’s the only company that carries a mobile unit with a non-rechargeable battery; the on-the-go unit’s battery lasts up to 10 years. Life Alert tracks active seniors with cellular data and GPS, but seniors can also connect their smartphone to the monitoring center via an app.

Because of its long-lasting battery, Life Alert HELP On the Go with GPS is ideal for seniors who may struggle to replace or recharge a device’s battery. This mobile unit is also waterproof, so you can continue tracking your loved one during bath time or an unexpected rainstorm. Life Alert was the first company in the medical alert industry to utilize 4G LTE technology, providing subscribers with accurate tracking and quick response times.

The company doesn’t offer fall protection, but they feel it’s because many seniors become annoyed by the number of false alerts. Data is transmitted via GSM cellular services, and the company operates its own monitoring center rather than using a third-party like many other medical alert systems. Life Alert’s U.S.-based monitoring center is staffed with employees who have undergone as much as one year of training on how to effectively handle alerts and incoming calls.

Medical Care Alert

GPS-enabled Medical Care Alert devices have budget-friendly service plans that often cost less than those of competitors. Medical Care Alert carries two medical alert system options for on-the-go seniors: Home and Away Elite and Home and Away Primo.

All calls are handled by EMT- or EMD-certified operators, so seniors are connected with employees who truly understand medical emergencies. When emergency medical professionals are dispatched to an elderly subscriber’s home, Medical Care Alert sends a text to caregivers, doctors and other loved ones on the approved list. This helps loved ones work with medical personnel to develop an appropriate care plan based on the senior’s specific needs.

Home and Away Elite uses GPS services and AT&T cellular towers to monitor active seniors. Home and Away Primo also uses these methods, and it incorporates Wi-Fi hotspots for pinpoint location tracking. Fall detection is not available with the Primo service, but subscribers can add it to the Elite package.

Why Choose a Medical Alert Bracelet?

Nearly all medical alert system bracelets offer some form of tracking, but several of them are limited to in-home or landline use. A bracelet with Wi-Fi or cellular tracking capabilities provides freedom and flexibility for your loved one. Seniors can shop, dine out with friends or even travel out of state knowing their movements are monitored by a dependable network.

GPS tracking also helps family members and medical professionals find a bracelet wearer’s exact location rather than searching a large apartment complex or assisted living facility. When a bracelet interacts with Wi-Fi hotspots, caregivers can quickly located their loved one and administer appropriate help, even if a loved one isn’t at home.

Tips For Medical Alert Bracelet Shopping

Any elderly adult can fall or experience the life-threatening symptoms of heart disease, but your loved one may have an increased risk for these issues. Consider your senior’s health history when you shop for medical alert systems, and choose one geared toward current ailments or conditions.

You should also assess your loved one’s lifestyle before selecting a medical bracelet. A senior who ages in an assisted living community may not need GPS tracking beyond the home, but it can be helpful for an active senior who lives alone. Ask for your loved one’s input as you shop for bracelets; a senior who dislikes a certain bracelet may be hesitant to wear it regularly.

Medical Alert Bracelet Fees and Add-Ons

When shopping for a medical alert system bracelet, keep in mind that many GPS-enabled trackers may require additional fees. In addition to buying or renting the device itself, you may need to pay for a monthly, quarterly or yearly service plan. Depending on which unit you choose, you may spend anywhere from $20 a month to more than $100 for services and features. Medical bracelet companies often offer customizable plans that let you add features such as fall protection, wall-mounted help buttons, medication reminders and pinpoint location monitoring.

Consider a care protection plan if you are worried the medical bracelet may become lost or damaged. A protection plan often costs less than $10 per month, and many are available below $5. Some medical alert bracelet companies also offer monthly subscriptions to PIN-protected lockboxes for loved ones who can’t open their door during an emergency.

Take your time exploring different alert system options, and choose carefully. The right bracelet may save your loved one’s life.